Ask Jim: “Are other rain water treatment options better than Silva Cells?”

Ask Jim!

Here is this week’s “Ask Jim Urban” column. Jim Urban, FASLA is an expert on urban trees and soils and his recent book, Up By Roots, is the industry bible on these topics. Jim was also involved in the development and design of the Silva Cell system. In this column, which we’ll be running once a week through the end of February and on a case-by-case basis after that, Jim will answer some of the most common questions he hears about Silva Cells. If you have a question you’d like Jim to answer, please email us at rethinktrees@deeproot.com. Here’s Jim.

Are other rain water treatment options better than Silva Cells? 

Other ideas, such as porous paving or green roofs, are all part of the solution. Success will come only with the use of all options, each in its appropriate place, and often combining ideas.

For example, pervious pavers should have a much wider application potential. They should almost always be recommend on top of Silva Cells as the ideal way to get more water into soil that supports both the storm water goals and tree canopy goals. Pervious paving allows the reduction in size or even the elimination of the need for the fore-bay feature of the treatment system.  Green roofs do treat the roof portion of the rain water but misses the rain that lands elsewhere. In intense urban areas, every surface must be put into play when treating rain water.

James Urban, FASLA
Urban Trees + Soils

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